Due to an increase in damaging human activity and excessive poaching, wildlife extinction rates have skyrocketed in recent decades. Among the unfortunate species currently battling extinction, you will find the beautiful northern white rhino. For years, scientists have been trying to save this unique creature from total extinction. However, it’s proven to be quite difficult due to the increasingly small population. However, thanks to advances in technology, there might still be a way to help them.
Wildlife Extinction: How We Got Here
The northern white rhino has been a victim of relentless hunting and poaching for over a century. Though they once were widespread across central Africa, spanning Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chad, and Cameroon, they started to experience drastic declines in population numbers during the late 18th century and early 19th century. European colonization of the continent introduced excessive hunting to the area. By the 1970s and 1980s, poachers had reduced the wild population of northern white rhinos from an estimated five-hundred to around fifteen. Though the population recovered a little bit and more than doubled to thirty-two by the 1990s, poaching once again reduced the numbers in recent decades.
Northern White Rhinos Today
Nowadays, there are only two northern white rhinos in the world. Their names are Najin and Fatu and they are both female rhinos. Both of them live in captivity in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, their home since 2009. They moved there from the Dv?r Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic along with two male rhinos in the hopes that their natural habitat would incentivize reproduction. However, the rhinos did not manage to mate successfully before the two male ones died in 2014 and 2018 respectively. Since then, there were attempts to artificially inseminate the remaining female rhinos, but both were soon found to be infertile and therefore unable to conceive on their own. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation.
What Can We Do to Prevent Wildlife Extinction
Thanks to recent advances in reproductive technology, the remaining rhinos’ eggs can still potentially be used to conceive new pure-bred white rhino calves with the help of frozen semen samples from the deceased males. Through in-vitro fertilization, the eggs could be retrieved through a process that would cause no harm to the rhinos and incubated by surrogate female southern white rhinos. Were the process successful, it could be used to produce both male and female calves in the future, giving the species a new chance at prosperity.
This sounds like a very complicated procedure because it is. It’s also very expensive, which is why we at NWR Extinction are reaching out to the international community in the hopes that we can raise the necessary funds while the female rhinos are still alive and young enough for the process to be successful. You too can help the cause and prevent this wildlife extinction by donating some money towards the procedure. We don’t have much time left to make sure we can save this beautiful species from total extinction.